ClimbHI Spearheads New Hospitality Pathway Certificate for DOE Students

By Teddi Anderson | President, TLC PR
January 16, 2020

Training launches at a special event on Jan. 21 including teachers and hospitality industry leaders

Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 16, 2020 – Hawaii workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI is launching a new Hospitality Pathway Certificate for high school students throughout the state under a contract with the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and with support from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

The Service Excellence Certificate of Achievement curriculum, which will provide fundamental skills for employment in the hospitality industry and beyond, will formally launch at a special event from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, at the OCISS Office Annex at 475 22nd Ave. in Honolulu. Participants will include DOE teachers and administrators, HTA leadership, and representatives from companies such as Alaska Airlines, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Tiki’s Grill & Bar, ELITE Parking Services, and Aloha Hospitality Professionals. Media are invited to attend.

The curriculum was exclusively developed in partnership with the School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, one of the leading hospitality administration programs in the world, for the DOE’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. Upon completion of the program’s 10 lessons, students will receive a Service Excellence Certificate of Achievement from Cornell University and the HTA. The program will be available for DOE CTE students starting in the second half of the 2019-2020 academic year.

“This certificate provides a highly regarded academic curriculum married with the world-class service, or ho‘okipa, here in Hawaii that allows our graduates to be more workforce ready and arms them with important life skills,” said Julie Morikawa, president and founder of ClimbHI. “The courses are shaped by a focus on Hawaii’s aloha spirit, which sets the standard for hospitality worldwide. We are grateful for generous support from the HTA, our hospitality industry, Cornell and the DOE in implementing this curriculum.”

The Hospitality Pathway includes both online and experiential courses, including involvement in ClimbHI’s Leadership Exploration Inspiration (LEI) program. LEI is a HTA-sponsored workforce development project created by ClimbHI in 2011 to inspire Hawaii’s youth to pursue careers in the state’s visitor industry by providing them with the means to achieve success. Courses cover skills development, managing customer interactions, and Aloha Spirit Law as outlined in the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS 5-7.5).

“Hospitality training touches a variety of industries, and to be able to provide globally recognized training that is rooted in Hawaii’s aloha spirit and culture is an extraordinary opportunity for our students,” said Chris Tatum, president and CEO of HTA. “We look forward to working with ClimbHI, our industry partners and our educators to ensure the program’s success as it rolls out in schools throughout Hawaii.”

About ClimbHI: Founded in 2010, the Hawaii-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit ClimbHI seeks to inspire students to finish high school and proceed to post-secondary education or employment by exposing them to future career paths and the steps necessary to achieve those goals. For more, visit

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